How should we view architects and their work? If we think of buildings as purely functional, then we seem to be thinking of architects as means to ends only, forgetting their concern for aesthetics. Conversely, if we see buildings purely as aesthetic objects, we are underplaying the technical - scientific - expertise of architects. Is there a middle ground of judgement here?
There must be a middle ground as far as the status of buildings is concerned -- they can be viewed both functionally and aesthetically. And of course it is a common criticism of a building that one aspect has been overvalued at the expense of the other. Such criticism shows that we can see architects from the same two perspectives, so that we can condemn an architect either for failing to provide us with an effective building (the architect and her skill being viewed almost as mere 'means' to our ends), or for putting up something ugly (in which case we are casting aspersions on the architect's aesthetic capacities). What one must remember also is that one might admire the skills an architect shows in producing a particularly effective building, so that architectural activity can be both an end in itself, exemplifying certain excellences, and directed towards an independent end (a building). Aristotle puts this point especially clearly at the beginning of the Nicomachean Ethics.